After all these fake epidemics of tobacco and alcohol and obesity, it’s almost refreshing to see a proper viral epidemic scything people down.
Unfortunately, the World Health Organisation doesn’t seem to be handling it too well.
Ebola outbreak: We’re heading towards a catastrophe, warns top medic
We are heading towards pending ‘catastrophe’ after ‘woefully inadequate’ response, warns head of the World Health Organisation
The health chief leading the fight against the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has warned it was spiralling out of control towards a “catastrophic” epidemic that could engulf the region.
Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organisation, said the response to the disease had been “woefully inadequate” and it was “moving faster than our efforts to control it”.
Her warnings – the starkest to date – were delivered to the leaders of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia as they held a crisis summit to discuss how to curb the crisis, which has now claimed at least 729 lives.
Ebola seems to be something of a neglected disease. There’s no vaccine.
The sporadic nature of the disease and the fact that it survives in bats between outbreaks makes it harder to come up with vaccines and cures, but the fact that it is exclusively a disease of sub-Saharan Africa means that the urge even to try has been disgracefully lacking in the West.
Which shouldn’t be too surprising when the WHO has its focus on important things like the tobacco epidemic and the alcohol epidemic and the supersized-food-driven obesity epidemic.
Could the ebola epidemic break out of sub-saharan Africa, and spread around the world? We’ll soon find out. But medical opinion seems to be that it’s unlikely to do so because simple measures like washing hands will be enough to destroy the virus. And everyone is always washing their hands in the developed world, aren’t they?
A sickness and vomiting bug has hit the Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village just days before the event kicks off.
“Workforce should notify their manager and avoid coming into work. If symptoms appear while on shift, workforce should contact their supervisor. Please remind your teams about adopting good practice in the use of regular hand-washing and sanitiser.” (emphasis added)
And anyway, at least top medic Margaret Chan seems to have got her priorities right:
WHO Director-General considers the tobacco endgame
Dr Margaret Chan
Director-General of the World Health Organization
Keynote address at the International Conference on Public Health Priorities in the 21st Century: the Endgame for Tobacco
New Delhi, India
11 September 2013